On January 31st, the Popular Seriality Research Unit will convene in Berlin for a first workshop with its previous and new members. The workshop will also include a gender equality measure with Dr. Regina Frey from the Genderbüro.
The German journal LWU, a peer-reviewed quarterly of literary scholarship, invites papers (in English) for a special issue on serial narratives.
Call for Papers
Since the nineteenth century, serial narration has been a preferred mode of popular storytelling. From serialized novels to comic strips and film serials, from radio plays and television series to video games, and digital forms of storytelling—serial narratives have proven to be an effective means of attracting and engaging mass audiences, especially when new technologies (like color printing in newspapers) and new media (like film, radio, television, and the Internet) emerge. Producers rely on recurrent characters, ongoing storylines, and delayed narrative closure in order to generate audience desire for future installments. In that regard, serial narratives essentially promote themselves and the medium in which they appear, as consumers must continue to read, watch, or listen over extended periods of time if they want to gain access to the full story. Serial narratives make perfect economic sense from the producers’ point of view, then, but they also provide various pleasures for their audiences. The particular appeal of a television series, to name just one example, may lie in ritualized viewing practices, in a long-term emotional engagement with fictional characters and their experiences, or in creative responses like fan fiction.
Existing studies of nineteenth-century serialized novels, early comic strips, and contemporary television shows seldom look at serialization as a dynamic practice that crosses media boundaries and constantly adapts to the ever-changing media landscape and its latest technological innovations. This special issue of LWU seeks to explore narrative, cultural, and historical dimensions of serial narratives in an effort to come to terms with their changing forms and functions within the field of popular culture. We are interested in questions relating to the production and reception of serial narratives in the past and present. How can the evolution of serial forms be understood within particular theoretical frameworks? How does the sprawl of serial narratives across different media challenge established notions of authorship, narrative closure, and cultural legitimacy? How does it work to increase audience loyalty and engagement? How do authors and producers respond to new modes of consumption that differ from the ritualized experience of daily, weekly or monthly installments? Do DVD sets, VOD services, and streaming, for example, demand new narrative strategies and storytelling techniques to satisfy the binge or repeat viewer of television series? What effect has the “second screen” on viewing experiences and (the semblance of) audience participation?
We invite theoretical reflections as well as analyses of individual serial narratives. Please send an abstract of 250-300 words and a short CV to Kathleen.Loock@fu-berlin.de. The deadline for abstracts is April 1, 2014. All accepted essays have to be submitted by November 1, 2014.
Shane Denson and Andreas Jahn-Sudmann published an article called “Digital Seriality: On the Serial Aesthetics and Practice of Digital Games” in the new issue of the open-access journal Eludamos: Journal for Computer Game Culture. In the article they put forward some of the central ideas of their joint research project and provide illustrations of serial aesthetics and practices in games and game cultures.
Björn Lorenz and Christian Hißnauer published the article “Wissenschaftler im ARD-"Tatort": Forscher als Freaks” for SpiegelOnline. In their article they investigate the role of scientists and academics in the German Television Series Tatort.
Christina Meyer visited Columbus, Ohio to conduct research for her project “Series of Multimodal Forms of Narration: The Yellow Kid Newspaper Comics of the Nineteenth Century.” During her stay, she was interviewed by WOSU/NPR as well as Al Jazeera and gave the lecture "Popular Visions of Urban Life: The Sunday Newspaper Comics of the 19th Century" for the Grand Opening of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum at Ohio State University.
Frank Kelleter will be giving a lecture in the lecture series "American Classics" of the German-American Institute Saarbrücken.
His lecture "Fluss des Auftauchens und Verschwindens - Die Fernsehserien" will take place at 19:00 in the Stadtgalerie Saarbrücken (St. Johanner Markt 24, Saarbrücken).
In the post The Shadow of Fu Manchu Falls Upon Me, William Patrick Maynard reviewed Ruth Mayer’s book Serial Fu Manchu: The Chinese Supervillain and the Spread of Yellow Peril Ideology. Read more here.
The monograph Serial Fu Manchu: The Chinese Supervillain and the Spread of Yellow Peril Ideology by Ruth Mayer has just been published by Temple University Press. It provides a historical and cultural examination of the spread of Fu Manchu and the "Yellow Peril" myth across different media and argues that seriality is not merely a commercial strategy but essential to the spread of European and American fears of Asian expansion.
Visit the publisher’s website.
Dorothee Barsch from the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung interviewed Maria Sulimma for her article “Besorgte Versorger – die neuen alten TV-Väter“ in the publication ER-Mag – Geschichten über Männer. Read what Maria had to say on masculinity and fatherhood in contemporary tv series here.
Shane Denson will be giving a talk on "Nonhuman Perspectives and Discorrelated Images in Post-Cinema" at the conference of "Dissolutions of Perspective in Post Cinema." The conference will take place on November 22 and 23, 2013, at the Freie Universität Berlin (Germany).
For more information refer to the blog of the Initiative for Interdisciplinary Media Research or visit the Conference website.
Christian Hißnauer will be giving a talk on "Der Traum vom Superstar: Castingshows als neue Form des 'Musikfilms'?" at the conference of "Populäre Musikkulturen im Film: Transdisziplinäre Perspektiven auf Formen, Inhalte und Rezeption des fiktionalen und dokumentarischen Musikfilms." The conference will take place on November 22 to 24, 2013, at the University of Fine Arts Hamburg (Germany).
More information here.
Heinz Drügh did a review of the essay collection Populäre Serialität: Narration – Evolution – Distinktion, Zum seriellen Erzählen seit dem 19. Jahrhundert for Pop. Kultur und Kritik and Michael Wedel for tv diskurs Verantwortung in audiovisuellen Medien.
Michael Chaney (Dartmouth) has interviewed Daniel Stein, Shane Denson, and Christina Meyer about their recent publication Transnational Perspectives on Graphic Narratives. Read the interview online.
For the second funding period, Maria Sulimma has replaced Kathleen Loock as administrator of the Popular Seriality Research Unit (PSRU). Kathleen Loock has started working as a post-doc on the subproject “Retrospective Serialization.” Previously, Maria Sulimma was an associated member of the PSRU; she is now working on her dissertation on gender(ing) in narrative complex television serials.
Bettina Soller is contributing to the current theme week at In Media Res. Her post "Fan Fiction Archives as Sites of Cultural Practices" will be published on October 25, 2013, and will examine authors and reader functions in online fan fiction archives.
During the theme week, each day's contribution will consist of a video clip of up to three minutes and an essay of 300-350 words. These posts are designed to serve as a conversation starter. To participate in the discussion, you must register beforehand.
The lineup of curators for the "Everyday Archives" theme week is as follows:
Monday, October 21:
Chad Pollock (University of Arkansas School of Law), "Everyday Archives and Open Government"
Tuesday, October 22:
Zack Lischer-Katz (Rutgers University), "Archiving Until the End of the Republic"
Wednesday, October 23:
Siobhan Senier (University of New Hampshire), "Subaltern Digital Archives: Collecting and Curating Native American Literature on the Web"
Thursday, October 24:
Daniel Griffin and Anne Peterson (Tulane University), "Will Bit Rot be Beautiful?"
Friday, October 25:
Bettina Soller (Georg-August-University Göttingen), "Fan Fiction Archives as Sites of Cultural Practices"
In March 2013, Bloomsbury has published the essay collection Transnational Perspectives on Graphic Narratives: Comics at the Crossroads. The three co-editors Daniel Stein, Shane Denson, and Christina Meyer will be speaking about the book and the broader field of "Transnational Comics Studies" on October 9, 2013, at the Berliner Kolloquium zur Comicforschung. The meeting will take place at the Humboldt University in Berlin.
Maria Sulimma is contributing to the current theme week at In Media Res. Her post "The Fanboy Next Door: Whedon and His Appeal to Self-Professed Geeks" will be published on October 2, 2013, and will critically explore notions of authorship and geekiness as related to Whedon and the texts he was involved in producing.
During the theme week, each day's contribution will consist of a video clip of up to three minutes and an essay of 300-350 words. These posts are designed to serve as a conversation starter. To participate in the discussion, you must register beforehand.
The lineup of curators for the Joss Whedon theme week is as follows:
Monday, September 30:
Leora Hadas (University of Nottingham), "Authorship in Promotional Surround: The Shakespearean and the Whedonesque"
Tuesday, October 1:
Taylor Boulware (University of Washington), "Race, Passing, and Lynching: Angel’s 'Are You Now or Have You Ever Been'"
Wednesday, October 2:
Maria Sulimma (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen/FU Berlin), "The Fanboy Next Door: Whedon and His Appeal to Self-Professed Geeks"
Thursday, October 3:
Casey McCormick (McGill University), "That Whedony Feeling"
Friday, October 4:
Roxanne Samer (University of Southern California), "Dollhouse and Echo(e)s of Future Queerness"
We are very excited to announce that the DFG (German Research Foundation) has now officially approved our application for a second 3-year funding period! The Popular Seriality Research Unit will receive a follow-up grant of € 2.15 million. From October 2013 through September 2016, seven newly developed sub-projects will investigate the historical foundations of popular seriality, refine our conceptual frame, and expand the field of objects under investigation. For more information about the new subprojects, see our Projects page.
In August 2013, two conference reports have been published that give detailed accounts of the "Popular Seriality" conference and the interdisciplinary conference on the German police procedural Tatort.
From June 6 to 8, 2013, towards the end of the first funding period, the Popular Seriality Research Unit (PSRU) has held an International Conference in Göttingen. Members of the PSRU were giving talks and had invited well-known researchers in the field of popular seriality, among them Sudeep Dasgupta, Jared Gardner, Julika Griem, Scott Higgins, Judith Keilbach, Christina Meyer, Lothar Mikos, Sean O'Sullivan, Irmela Schneider, Sabine Sielke, Ben Singer, William Uricchio, Constantine Verevis, Tanja Weber und Christian Junklewitz. Jason Mittell gave the keynote lecture. Photos of the conference are now available.
The Popular Seriality Research Unit has submitted a new set of sub-projects to the German Research Foundation (DFG) for a second funding period, 2013-2016. On July 3 and 4, we discussed these projects with the DFG review group. We are happy to report that the review group strongly recommends funding for seven new subprojects. The DFG joint committee ("Hauptausschuss") still has to confirm this recommendation. We expect an official decision in late August or early September. The new subprojects are scheduled to start in October 2013.
The Popular Seriality Research Unit has submitted a new set of interdisciplinary sub-projects to the German Research Foundation (DFG) for a second funding period (2013-2016). We will discuss these projects with the DFG review group in Berlin on July 3 and 4.
The international conference on the German Police Procedural Tatort, that was organized by Christian Hißnauer, Stefan Scherer and Claudia Stockinger, has generated a wide media response in German newspapers and the radio. Articles on the conference have been printed in well-known national and regional newspapers; Stefan Scherer and Christian Hißnauer as well as conference participants have given interviews on the radio.
Links to the newspaper articles and audio files can be found in our press section.
On June 22, 2013, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, one of Germany’s leading daily newspapers, has published a review by Frank Kelleter in the Feuilleton section of the newspaper. It deals with Sarah Khan’s new book Dr. House (Diaphanes, 2013).
The essay collection From Comic Strips to Graphic Novels: Contributions to the Theory and History of Graphic Narrative, co-edited by Daniel Stein, and Jan-Noël Thon, has just been published by De Gruyter. It examines the theory and history of graphic narrative as one of the most interesting and versatile forms of narrative beyond traditional literary texts. Analyzing a wide range of texts, genres, and narrative strategies from both theoretical and historical perspectives, its various contributors offer state-of-the-art research on graphic narrative in the context of an increasingly postclassical and transmedial narratology.
From June 20 to 22, 2013, Christian Hißnauer, Stefan Scherer and Claudia Stockinger from the sub-project “Forms and Practices of Seriality in the ARD Police Procedural Tatort“ will organize an interdisciplinary conference in Göttingen that closely examines the series. The police procedural Tatort, aired by public broadcaster ARD and tailored to the federal organization of regional public broadcasters in Germany, has been in production since 1970. With funding from the Fritz Thyssen Foundation, the organizers have been able to invite experts from Germany and abroad.
The Initiative for Interdisciplinary Media Research and the American Studies department at the Leibniz University of Hannover are organizing the symposium "Imagining Media Change" on June 13, 2013.
In the midst of the ongoing digitalization of our contemporary media environment, recent media and cultural studies have developed a renewed interest in the production and staging of technological innovation, in the occurrence and impact of media change, and in the ways these transformations inform the production, circulation, reception, and aesthetics of popular texts and media forms. The emergence of "new media" in particular, it would seem, prompts us to rethink the role of mediating technologies within social and cultural spheres, and to explore how our everyday lives are transformed by a newly digitalized technical infrastructure. The symposium "Imagining Media Change" takes a broad view of media-historical and counter-historical developments and transformations since the nineteenth century, focusing in particular on the reflexive interactions between media undergoing change and media being used to imagine the parameters, effects, and significance of media-technological transformations. We are interested in historical and contemporary visions of change as they are articulated in or pertain to a wide range of media (including film, television, literature, and other visual, aural, textual, or computational media). The one-day symposium aims to bring together a variety of disciplinary perspectives and interests and to facilitate discussion of the material, political, aesthetic, and speculative dimensions of media change. Keynote lectures will be held by Jussi Parikka (University of Southampton, UK) and Wanda Strauven (University of Amsterdam, NL).
For more information about the symposium "Imagining Media Change," please contact email@example.com or refer to the blog of the Initiative for Interdisciplinary Media Research.
Jason Mittell (Middlebury College) and Jared Gardner (Ohio State University) will be giving guest lectures at the John F. Kennedy Institute in Berlin this June.
June 12, 2013: Jason Mittell, "Complex Television & Transmedia Storytelling"
June 13, 2013: Jared Gardner, "Time and History in Contemporary Graphic Narrative"
From June 6 to 8, 2013, towards the end of the first funding period, the Popular Seriality Research Unit (PSRU) will hold an International Conference in Göttingen. Talks will be given by members of the PSRU and well-known researchers in the field of popular seriality. Among the scholars who will attend the conference are Sudeep Dasgupta, Jared Gardner, Julika Griem, Scott Higgins, Judith Keilbach, Christina Meyer, Lothar Mikos, Sean O'Sullivan, Irmela Schneider, Sabine Sielke, Ben Singer, William Uricchio, Constantine Verevis, Tanja Weber und Christian Junklewitz. Jason Mittell will give the keynote lecture.
This conference is open to the public; there will be no conference fees. If you wish to attend the conference, please register with Kathleen Loock via e-mail: Kathleen.Loock@phil.uni-goettingen.de.
On May 1, 2013, Frank Kelleter officially began his new position at the John F. Kennedy-Institut (Freie Universität Berlin) and received an "Einstein Professorship" from the Einstein Foundation.
The German Research Foundation has announced today that Daniel Stein will receive one of the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz-Prizes 2013 for his dissertation and his work in the Research Unit. The prize is awarded in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Education and Research to young researchers for their outstanding academic achievements. It is considered one of the most significant recognitions for young researchers in Germany and is endowed with 20.000 Euros. The award ceremony will take place in Berlin on June 3, 2013.
Christian Hißnauer and Andreas Jahn-Sudmann will be presenting papers at a television conference in Regensburg. Christian Hißnauer will be giving a talk on documentary teleplays of the 1960s; Andreas Jahn-Sudmann will be speaking about serial outbidding. The conference will take place from May 3 to 5, 2013.
Members and associated members of the Popular Seriality Research Unit will meet with William Uricchio. Two workshops, in which current and new seriality-related projects will be discussed, are scheduled for April 23 and April 30, 2013. They will take place at the Lichtenberg-Kolleg and are not open to the public.
In their monograph Wegmarken des Fernsehdokumentarismus: Die Hamburger Schulen, which will be published in 2013, Christian Hißnauer and Bernd Schmidt examine 60 years of German television history. The authors outline the development of documentary television since the 1950s. A thematic focus of their book is on productions that deal with Nazi Germany; they are also interested in the emergence of direct cinema, documentary interviews, and docu-drama.
The Fellow of the Popular Seriality Research Unit, William Uricchio, will be giving several lectures during his stay at the Lichtenberg-Kolleg. In April 2013, he will be speaking in Hamburg, Göttingen, and Berlin. (Click the links for abstracts and further information).
April 9-10, 2013: "The New Arts of Documentary" (Hamburg)
April 16, 2013: "The Trouble with Television" (Göttingen)
April 25, 2013: "Media Change and Its Implications for the Study of Culture" (Berlin)
Shane Denson, Daniel Stein, and Lukas Etter will be presenting papers on various aspects of popular seriality at the Illustration, Comics, and Animation Conference, which is organized by Michael A. Chaney and takes place at Dartmouth College (April 19-21, 2013).
For more information, see this post on the Media Initiative Blog (University of Hannover).
In March 2013, Bloomsbury has published Transnational Perspectives on Graphic Narratives: Comics at the Crossroads, an essay collection that is co-edited by Daniel Stein, Shane Denson, and Christina Meyer.
Bringing together an international team of scholars, this book charts and analyzes the ways in which comic book history and new forms of graphic narrative have been impacted by aesthetic, social, political, economic, and cultural interactions that reach across national borders in an increasingly interconnected and globalizing world.
Exploring the tendencies of graphic narratives - from popular comic book serials and graphic novels to manga - to cross national and cultural boundaries, Transnational Perspectives on Graphic Narratives addresses a previously marginalized area in comics studies. Placing graphic narratives in the global flow of cultural production and reception, the book investigates controversial representations of transnational politics, examines transnational adaptations of superhero characters, and maps many of the translations and transformations that have come to shape contemporary comics culture on a global scale.
Andreas Jahn-Sudmann will present a paper entitled "Agon and Transseriality: Skyscrapers, TV Series and the Dynamics of Serial Outbidding (Überbietung)" at the Society for Cinema & Media Studies Annual Conference, which will be held in Chicago from March 6 to 10, 2013. The panel, "Trans-Seriality," is scheduled for March 8, 2013.
For further information click here.
On February 14, 2013, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, one of Germany’s leading daily newspapers, has published a review by Frank Kelleter in the Feuilleton section of the newspaper. It deals with Bruno Latour’s most recent publication, Enquete sur les modes d’existence: Une anthropologie des Modernes (Paris: Editions La Decouverte, 2012). The review is available in the online version of the newspaper.
Regina Bendix and Christine Hämmerling are organizing the panel P09 "Medial Seriality and Cultural Circulation" at the 2013 conference of the International Society for Folk Narrative Research (SIEF). The conference takes place in Tartu (Estonia), from June 30 to July 4, 2013.
Call for Papers
The term "popular seriality" refers to the growing production and sale of serialized forms of popular entertainment to equally growing audiences. Serialization, akin to circulation, stresses the regular, the known and habitual. But while the image of the circle may emphasize stability, repetition and timelessness, the spiral, as an image of the serial, highlights movement, innovation and change. Popular seriality offers an important interface for (re-)conceptualizing ethnological and folkloristic keyterms and problems such as tradition and habitus, cultural (re-)production and consumption, authorship and communal creation, immaterial and material dimensions of culture, and the impact of industrial production on cultural creativity and circulation.
Drawing from the interdisciplinary research field concerned with popular seriality, the panel seeks to explore issues such as the linearity of tradition vis-à-vis the cyclicality of serial contents, the materialization of serial imaginaries through fan practices, the cultural transformation of serial commodities, and the ebb and flow of serial afflictions in cycles of innovation and habituation. Such conceptual questions will be focused through the lens of serial narration, reception, and the media and technologies facilitating them (comics, novels, tv-series, digital games, etc.).
We welcome theoretical contributions and case studies on reader/viewer/player practices as well as new perspectives on the serialization of everyday life that is organized along serial reception, comparative examinations across time or place, or intertextual and intermedial referencing which add to the sense of circulating topics and stories.
Please submit your abstracts until January 18, 2013, on the Conference Website.
On January 7, 2013, William Uricchio has arrived in Göttingen to begin his stay as a Fellow of the Popular Seriality Research Unit at the Lichtenberg-Kolleg. Uricchio is Professor of Comparative Media Studies at MIT and Principal Investigator of the MIT Game Lab and the MIT Open Documentary Lab; and Professor of Comparative Media History at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. During his stay at the University of Göttingen, until May 2013, he will be finishing a book a book on the deep history of the televisual and collaborating with the popular seriality team. For further information click here.
Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Frank Kelleter, Jason Mittell, and Mark Sample have organized a panel on "Rewards and Challenges of Serial Scholarship“ that will be held on January 6 at this year’s MLA Convention in Boston (January 3-6, 2013).
The panel considers the value and challenges of serial scholarship, that is, research published in serialized form online through a blog, forum, or other public venue. Each of the participants will give a lightning talk about his or her stance toward serial scholarship, while the bulk of the session time will be reserved for open discussion.
Stefan Scherer and Andreas Hirsch-Weber are organizing a workshop that investigates reflections on technology in U.S.-American and European television series. The workshop will take place on November 16 and 17, 2012, at the KIT (Karlsruhe Institute for Technology).
In issue #14 of La Furia Umana, Shane Denson engages in a roundtable discussion with Therese Grisham and Julia Leyda on the topic of “post-cinematic affect”—Steven Shaviro’s term for the contemporary media environment, following cinema’s displacement as the twentieth century’s dominant medium.
This is the second roundtable discussion on the topic, the first (involving Julia Leyda, Nicholas Rombes, Steven Shaviro, and Therese Grisham) having also appeared in La Furia Umana (here). While the first roundtable focused on the first two Paranormal Activity films, the discussion this time around touches on District 9, Melancholia, and Hugo, among others, and reflects on “post-continuity,” the “irrationality” of contemporary cameras, and the uses and abuses of 3D. In Shane Denson's contributions to the discussion, a connection is also drawn between these topics and that of plurimedial seriality.
In October 2012, Palgrave Macmillan has published the essay collection Film Remakes, Adaptations and Fan Productions: Remake | Remodel. The book is co-edited by Kathleen Loock from the Popular Seriality Research Unit (PSRU) and Constantine Verevis from Monash University (Australia). It contains 12 original contributions (also by members of the PSRU) that investigate processes of cultural reproduction and serialization in film, television and new media.
“Covering a wide range of examples, this is essential reading for anyone interested in film cultures and fan practices. Loock and Verevis have brought together a great mix of chapters. Contributors might be exploring recycling and remaking, but there’s nothing retro about their scholarship. Quite simply, Remake | Remodel is a model of excellence.”
-- Matt Hills, University of Cardiff, UK
“This exhilarating collection is guaranteed to make you think twice about the boundaries between adaptations and remakes, beginnings and endings, fiction and history, academics and fans, and especially reading and writing. Whether the contributors are discussing the endless generations of Sherlock Holmes or the land of Oz or the brave new world of fan videos and trailers, they're constantly removing the Do Not Disturb signs earlier theorists posted all over the textual landscape, and incidentally expanding our idea of what constitutes a text in wonderfully invigorating ways.”
-- Thomas Leitch, University of Delaware, USA
“Disproving the assumption that adaptations and remakes are simply uninteresting commercial ploys, this excellent collection of international scholars amply demonstrates the creative power and cultural work of such serial forms as created by both industries and fans, impressively spanning media, historical eras, and modes of production.”
-- Jason Mittell, Middlebury College, USA
The essay collection Klassiker der Fernsehserie (Classic TV Shows) has now been published by the German publishing house Reclam. The collection is edited by Christian Hißnauer and Thomas Klein. It contains contributions written by members of the Popular Seriality Research Unit. They examine German and international TV shows such as Ein Herz und eine Seele, Seinfeld, and The Singing Detective.
The special issue on American Comic Books and Graphic Novels was just published in the journal of the German Association for American Studies, Amerikastudien/American Studies 56.4 (2011). The issue was edited by Daniel Stein, Christina Meyer, and Micha Edlich and contains essays on topics ranging from Marvel’s serial Frankenstein comic books (Shane Denson), the forms and functions of space in Batman: Arkham Asylum (James F. Wurtz), and questions of racial Othering in superhero comics (Fredrik Strömberg) to questions of autobiographical representation (Astrid Böger), intersections of race and homosexuality (Dickel), transmedial focalization (Kai Mikkonen), and comics didactics (Carola Hecke). The issue also features an interview of the American comics creator David Mack conducted by media scholar Henry Jenkins.
The first issue of the new magazine Pop: Kultur und Kritik is out now. It contains articles that analyze and comment on central themes of contemporary popular culture. Ruth Mayer has contributed an article on Fu Manchu, Fantômas and the logic of the series.
Table of Contents
The Wire: Race, Class, and Genre, a new essay collection edited by Liam Kennedy and Stephen Shapiro, has now been published by the University of Michigan Press. Few other television series have received as much academic, media, and fan celebration as The Wire, which has been called the best dramatic series ever created. The show depicts the conflict between Baltimore's police and criminals to raise a warning about race; drug war policing; deindustrialization; and the inadequacies of America’s civic, educational, and political institutions. The book contains a range of astute critical responses to this television phenomenon, among them are Frank Kelleter‘s essay "The Wire and Its Readers" and Jason Mittell‘s essay "The Wire in the Context of American Television."
The essay collection on popular seriality, Populäre Serialität: Narration-Evolution-Distinktion. Zum seriellen Erzählen seit dem 19. Jahrhundert, has now been published by the German publishing house transcript. Frank Kelleter has edited the volume that contains 18 essays. The book has emerged from the Opening Conference of the Popular Seriality Research Unit in April 2011.
Henry Jenkins, Provost's Professor of Communication, Journalism & Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California (USC), has written about his stay in Göttingen in May 2012 in a blog entry. Jenkins held a guest lecture and conducted a workshop with the members of the Popular Seriality Research Unit on May 3, 2012. He has posted "How I Spent My Summer Vacation (Part 1): Germany” on his blog Confessions of an Aca-Fan.
On Monday, July 30, 2012, the German television station NDR will broadcast a feature on Tarzan ("Kulturjournal," 10:45 p.m.). Katrin Hafemann has interviewed Ruth Mayer for the feature that commemorates the 100th birthday of the serial figure.
The New Yorker has published the article "Tune in Next Week: The Curious Staying Power of the Cliffhanger" by Emily Nussbaum. Nussbaum mentions Jason Mittell’s book Complex TV: The Poetics of Contemporary Television Storytelling, which will come out next year. Jason Mittell has worked on this book during his stay in Göttingen during the academic year 2011-2012. He has been a Fellow of the Popular Seriality Research Unit at the Lichtenberg-Kolleg.
Regina Bendix and Christine Hämmerling of the sub-project “Quotidian Integration and Social Positioning of Pulp Novels (Heftromane) and Television Series,“ together with Brigitte Frizzoni (University of Zurich), are co-organizing and will be co-chairing a workshop on “Serial Disquiet: Criminal Entertainment in Times of Global and Private Uncertainties” at the 2012 conference of the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA). The conference topic is "Uncertainties and Disquiet“; it will take place from July 10 to 13, 2012, at the Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense.
The Workshop investigates diversely mediated mystery formats and their audiences, focusing on the tension between the fictional pleasure and political undesirability inherent to crime. Participants are: Ulrike Davis-Sulikowski (University of Vienna), Maloe Sniekers (Erasmus University Rotterdam), Stijn Reijnders (Erasmus University Rotterdam), and Elke Frietsch (University of Zürich).
For the workshop description and abstracts of the talks, click hier.
Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Director of Scholarly Communication at the MLA, has posted "Blogs as Serialized Scholarship“ on her blog Planned Obsolescence: Falling indelibly into the past. She has been interested in the topic of seriality in academia since the Lichtenberg Workshop on “Popular Seriality” that took place in Göttingen from June 8-9, 2012. Fitzpatrick attended the workshop, and participated in the panel discussion on “Seriality and Media Transformations.”
Kathleen Fitzpatrick on Lichtenberg Workshop (earlier blog post).
Visit the press section of our website.
On Monday, July 9, at 2.15 p.m., Prof. Dr. David Serlin from the University of California, San Diego, will give a guest lecture on “Spectacles of Empire: Popular Entertainment and Visual Culture in Late-Nineteenth-Century America.” The talk is open to the public, and will take place in room ZHG 103 (Platz der Göttinger Sieben) in Göttingen.
On the occasion of his visit to the Leibniz University of Hannover, the American Studies department / English Seminar and the Initiative for Interdisciplinary Media Research present a series of lectures and workshops with the renowned U.S. media theorist Mark Hansen.
Professor of Literature at Duke University since 2008, Mark Hansen is the author of the monographs Bodies in Code: Interfaces with New Media (2006), New Philosophy for New Media (2004), and Embodying Technesis: Technology Beyond Writing (2000), as well as numerous other publications in the field of media theory. In addition to two guest lectures, a workshop will provide the opportunity to discuss Prof. Hansen’s research on the basis of selected texts.
Mon, 2 July, 6:00 p.m. (Building 1502, Room 615):
Guest lecture “ Feed Forward, or the ‘Future’ of 21st Century Media”
Tue, 3 July, 10:00 a.m. (Building 1502, Room 615):
Guest lecture “The End of Pharmacology?: Historicizing 21st Century Media”
Fri, 6. July, 2:00-5:00 p.m. (Building 1502, Room 615):
Workshop on selected media-theoretical texts by Mark Hansen (to participate in the workshop, please register via email)
For further information and to register for the workshop, please contact: shane.denson (at) engsem.uni-hannover.de.
On Thursday, July 5, at 2 p.m., Prof. Dr. Dirk Vanderbeke (Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena) will give a guest lecture on “Comics, Graphic Novels and Superheroes in the 20th and 21st Centuries.” The talk is part of Prof. Dr. Brigitte Glaser’s seminar on “The Graphic Novel.” It is open to the public, and will take place at the “Medienraum” of the English Department (SEP 0.244, Käte-Hamburger-Weg 3) in Göttingen.
After almost one year in Göttingen Jason Mittell, Fellow of the Popular Seriality Research Unit (PSRU), will return to Middlebury College, VT (USA), where he is Associate Professor of American Studies and Film & Media Culture. He has stayed in Göttingen as a Fellow of the PSRU at the Lichtenberg-Kolleg, from August 2011 to June 2012. He has been working on a book on television narratives, Complex TV: The Poetics of Contemporary Television Storytelling, and collaborating with the popular seriality team during his stay. We are happy to have been able to work with Jason and wish him all the best until we meet again!
Andreas Jahn-Sudmann will participate in the panel “As Time Goes by on Contemporary Screens: Television, Seriality and Memory” at the 2012 conference of the European Network for Cinema and Media Studies (NECS).The conference topic is “Time Networks: Screen Media and Memory”; it will take place from June 21 to 23, 2012, in Lisbon (Portugal) and will be hosted by the New University of Lisbon and the University of Coimbra.
The panel is interested in the ways television series tell their own history via a special historiographical narrative and aspects of intermediality, and in how they are nostalgic and creators of nostalgia, also telling the story of media history. Andreas Jahn-Sudmann will be giving a talk on “Televisual metaseriality, memory and ‘the very special episode.’” The other participants are: Daniela Wentz (University of Weimar), Gabriele Schabacher (University of Siegen) und Kathrin Niemeyer (University of Geneva).
For more information about the workshop and the conference, click here.
Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Director of Scholarly Communication at the MLA, has written a blog entry related to the Lichtenberg Workshop on “Popular Seriality” that took place in Göttingen from June 8-9, 2012. Fitzpatrick attended the workshop, and participated in the panel discussion on “Seriality and Media Transformations.” She has posted “Unpopular Seriality” on her blog Planned Obsolescence: Falling indelibly into the past.
Visit Kathleen Fitzpatrick’s blog and the press section of the Research Unit’s website.
On Tuesday, 12 June, at 4 p.m. Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Director of Scholarly Communication at the MLA, will give a guest lecture based on her recent monograph Planned Obsolescence: Publishing, Technology, and the Future of the Academy. The talk will take place at the Presentation Room on the first floor of the Historical University Library Building in Göttingen (Papendiek 14).
From June 8-9, 2012, Jason Mittell, the Lichtenberg-Kolleg, and the Research Unit will organize a workshop on "Popular Seriality." Four invited speakers - Sean O'Sullivan (Ohio State University), Matt Hills (Cardiff University), Ruth Page (University of Leicester) und Robyn Warhol (Ohio State University) - will be representing various approaches. From the Popular Seriality Research Unit (PSRU), Jason Mittell, Frank Kelleter, Kathleen Loock, and Ruth Mayer will also be giving talks. There will be two panel discussions on the topics “Distinction” and “Media Transformations” with members of the PSRU and Kathleen Fitzpatrick (Modern Language Association). The workshop will take place at the Historic Observatory in Göttingen.
Heinricht Detering, associated member of the Popular Seriality Research Unit, has given an interview about his current project on Elvis Presley. Heinrich Detering’s article about seriality and ritual in Elvis Presley’s Las Vegas concerts (1969-1977) will be published in the collection Populäre Serialität: Narration-Evolution-Distinktion. Zum seriellen Erzählen seit dem 19. Jahrhundert.
Daniel Stein's monograph Music Is My Life: Louis Armstrong, Autobiography, and American Jazz has just been published by the University of Michigan Press. The book is the first extended study of Louis Armstrong's writing practices, intermedial performances, and his role as an icon of American popular culture. For more on the book, see the the publisher's website and Daniel Stein's guest post for the press blog.
Frank Kelleter has received a call to the chair of American culture and cultural history at the John F. Kennedy Institute, Freie Universität Berlin. Negotiations (Verhandlungen und Bleibeverhandlungen) with the FU Berlin and the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen will commence soon. The work of the Popular Seriality Research Unit and preparations for a second funding period (2013-2016) remain unaffected.
Jason Mittell, Fellow of the PSRU, will be giving a keynote address entitled “Playful TV: The Ludic Impulse of American Television” at the symposium on “Gaming the Humanities“ of the „Exploring the [Digital] Medium“ working group. The symposium will take place at the Uppsala University in Sweden on May 28, 2012.
On May 20, 2012, at 8:05 p.m., a radio feature on American television series will be broadcast by the German radio station Deutschlandfunk. Radio and television journalist Susanne Luerweg has interviewed Andreas Jahn-Sudmann of the Popular Seriality Research Unit for this feature. Another longer feature will probably broadcast by the German radio station WDR. More information to come.
Jason Mittell, Fellow of the Popular Seriality Research Unit, will be giving a keynote address entitled “Lengthy Interactions with Hideous Men: The Serial Poetics of Television Antiheroes” at the conference “Contemporary Screen Narratives.“ The conference will take place at the University of Nottingham (UK) on May 17, 2012.
Further information about the conference.
Jason Mittell will also be giving this lecture at Södertörn University in Stockholm (Sweden) on May 29, 2012, and at the Lichtenberg Workshop on “Popular Seriality“ in Göttingen on June 8, 2012.
Before his guest lecture at 6 p.m., Henry Jenkins will be offering a workshop for members and associated members of the Popular Seriality Research Unit. The workshop takes place at 3:30 p.m. at the Lichtenberg-Kolleg. Henry Jenkins and the participants of the workshop will be discussing a chapter from his forthcoming book Spreadable Media (NYU Press). Spreadable Media is co-authored with Sam Ford and Joshua Green, and focuses broadly on various forms of participation and engagement in contemporary media.
On May 3, 2012, Prof. Henry Jenkins, Provost's Professor of Communication, Journalism & Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California (USC) will be giving a guest lecture on “Comics...and Stuff: Material Culture, Media History, and Graphic Storytelling.” The lecture is open to the public and will take place at 6 p.m. at the Historic Observatory in Göttingen.
This event is organized in collaboration with the Lichtenberg-Kolleg, and the American Studies division at the University of Göttingen. We are grateful for the generous support provided by the U.S. Consulate General in Hamburg.
Comics are an ideal vehicle for mediating and interpreting our relationship with “stuff”?both “the stuff of dreams” (Kim Deitch) and “the stuff of our lives” (Seth). When we use the phrase “and stuff” in everyday speech, we mean something vague, something like “Etc.” It’s often seen as a sign of faltering confidence in our own expertise, but “and stuff” is a fascinating phrase because of the ways it links together the material world of things and the kind of emotional “baggage” that becomes attached to them. This talk will draw upon preliminary work which Prof. Jenkins is doing on a new book which examines the work of contemporary graphic novels. In this talk, “stuff” will refer to material culture, old media, historical memories?the residual of times gone by and media systems since dismantled. Comic authors have been particularly interested in the memory traces which such “stuff” carries with it?the ways old icons and artifacts embody old values into the presence: offering vehicles through which we sift autobiographical and collective memories, becoming the focus of nostalgic desires and fantasies, and representing the locus of conflicting claims and bids on legacy and tradition.
In December 2011, Stimmen der Zeit, a monthly German magazine about Christian culture, published Claudia Stockinger's article about the role of religion in the German police procedural Tatort. Her findings have been widely recognized. Articles on the subject have been printed in the local and national newspapers as well as Christian magazines. Claudia Stockinger has also given interviews on the radio.
Links and audio files can be found in the press section.
Claudia Stockinger will receive the Protestant Academy Baden Award 2012. Stockinger will be awarded the prize for her talk on the role of religion in the German police procedural Tatort she gave at a conference in Bad Herrenalb last fall.
Claudia Stockinger directs the sub-project “Forms and Practices of Seriality in the ARD Police Procedural Tatort“. The prize will be awarded during a public ceremony on October 14, 2012, in Bad Herrenalb.
Television scholar Jason Mittell, currently Lichtenberg-Fellow at the Popular Seriality Research Unit, has started open peer-to-peer review of his forthcoming book on MediaCommons Press. He is putting up chapters of Complex TV: The Poetics of Contemporary Television Storytelling on the website for open access prior to submitting the manuscript to NYU Press. Read more about the process in this post on his blog Just TV. To read the book chapters and provide feedback, please visit the MediaCommons Press website.
From March 26 to 30, 2012, the members of the Popular Seriality Research Unit will leave for a five-day retreat at the Gut Siggen Seminar Centre. During the retreat, they will discuss results of the sub-projects and potential follow-up projects.
Frank Kelleter published an article in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) on the American radio program "This American Life" and its dealings with Mike Daisey's theater show about the working conditions in Chinese Foxconn plants, where Apple products are manufactured. To read the article in the online version of the newspaper click here.
On March 19, 2012, Jason Mittell, Fellow of the Popular Seriality Research Unit, will be giving a Studium Generale lecture at the University of Groeningen (Netherlands). He will be talking about "From The West Wing to Lost: How American Television Storytelling Got Complex."
Jason Mittell will also be giving this lecture at the University of Paris (France) on April 6, 2012.
Ruth Mayer and Shane Denson will participate in the Symposium on “Networks in American Culture/America as Network” at the University of Mannheim. In the session “Networks and Seriality,” Ruth Mayer will be giving a talk on “Serial Machines: Aesthetics, Ideology, and the Logic of Spread”; Shane Denson will talk about “Networks of Mediation: Serial Figures as Mediators of Change.”
On February 7, 2012, at 11:00 a.m., Jason Mittell will give a presentation on "Serial Storytelling and the Television Author Function" in the Lichtenberg colloquium.
Jason Mittell will also be giving this lecture at the following universities:
University of Mannheim, 23 February 2012
University of Groeningen (Netherlands), 20 March 2012
John F. Kennedy Institute, Freie University Berlin, 19 April 2012
University of Hamburg, 30 April 2012
On February 4, 2012, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, one of Germany’s leading daily newspapers, has published an article by Frank Kelleter in the Feuilleton section of the newspaper. The article about American TV series is now available in the online version of the newspaper.
On January 31, 2012, the University of Applied Sciences in Altenholz (Schleswig-Holstein) will host a workshop that discusses to what extent the representation of police work in television series affects real-life police work. The workshop will be organized by the Department of Police and brings together police officers, scholars from different disciplines, screenwriters, and actors. Two members of the Popular Seriality Research Unit, Christine Hämmerling and Christian Hißnauer, have been invited to talk about narrative structures of and audience reactions to the German police procedural Tatort.
On January 31, 2012, Jason Mittell, Fellow of the Popular Seriality Research Unit, will be giving a lecture at the "Future of Film Studies“ lecture series at the University of Mainz. He will be talking about "Forensic Fandom and Participatory Technologies of Complex Television."
Jason Mittell will also be giving this lecture at the University of Groeningen (Netherlands) on March 20, 2012.
On January 26, 2012, at 4 p.m., Jason Mittell, Fellow of the Popular Seriality Research Unit, will present a paper on “Wikis and Participatory Fandom” at the Center of Modern Humanities in Göttingen (ZTMK). The lecture is part of the Humanities Laboratories organized by the ZTMK and will take place at the Institute for Cultural Anthropology / European Ethnology. The event will be chaired by Birgit Abels (Cultural Musicology); Regina Bendix and Bettina Soller will serve as commentators. For further information click here.
Like any discursive phenomenon, categories of cultural distinction (such as “high” art, “low” culture, or the less well-researched area of the “middlebrow”) require the substrate of some medium or medial field—be it language, mass media, or new media—in order to articulate the differences upon which they turn. Cultural clout or capital, for example, is accumulated, and the conditions of such accumulation are defined and regulated, in media ranging from the popular press to specialized academic and legal treatises. At the same time, the categories of cultural distinction not only take shape within media but apply as well to concrete media and media products. Individual novels, films, and music productions are classed according to oppositions such as high vs. low, art vs. kitsch, quality vs. trash, mainstream vs. alternative, while at times whole media are more generally relegated to a lowly status (such as was the case with “primitive” or preclassical cinema or with the videogame in the eyes of many today) or, on the other hand, accorded a higher one (e.g. the “graphic novel” vis-à-vis the pulpy comics from which it evolved). Clearly, these examples attest to the fact that cultural distinctions are negotiable and historically indexed, but more importantly, they point to the role of media transformations in the historical revision and renegotiation of distinction categories. The conference “Cultural Distinctions Remediated: Beyond the High, the Low, and the Middle” (December 15-17, 2011, University of Hanover) aims to shed light on such processes of transformation, in which the medial “double articulation” of distinction categories—i.e. the fact that they are both articulated in media and apply to media—is most crucially at stake, by looking critically at what happens when existing media and attendant categories are “remediated” by newer ones: How are categories of cultural distinction transformed, or how do they relate to a transformed media landscape? These questions will be pursued across a wide range of media and from comparative (both cross-medial and historical) perspectives.
Confirmed keynote speakers are Lynn Spigel (Northwestern University) and Jason Mittell (Middlebury College), who is a Fellow of the Popular Seriality Research Unit (PSRU). He will be giving a keynote on "The Complexity of Quality: Cultural Hierarchies & Aesthetic Evaluation in Contemporary Television." Furthermore, members and associated members of the PSRU will participate in the conference. They will be speaking on the following topics:
Bettina Soller, “Authorship as a Category of Cultural Distinction: Collaborative Writing and the Solitary Genius”
Andreas Jahn-Sudmann, “Desperately Seeking the Mainstream: Independent Games and the Cultural Logic of Distinction”
Shane Denson, “Lady Gaga's Mainstream Queer: A Serial Media Remix”
Click here for a copy of the conference program.
Click here for Conference Poster, Program, and Paraphernalia.
Beginning with an introductory post by Frank Kelleter, members of the Popular Seriality Research Unit (Shane Denson, Andreas Jahn-Sudmann, Ruth Mayer, Daniel Stein, and Jason Mittell), will organize a theme week on "Popular Seriality" from December 12-16, 2011 at In Media Res. Each day's contribution, consisting of a video clip of up to three minutes accompanied by an essay of 300-350 words, is designed to serve as a conversation starter aimed at involving a broad audience in discussion of key PSRU topics. To participate in the discussion, you must register beforehand.
The lineup of presenters/curators for the theme week, along with the tentative titles is as follows:
Tuesday, December 13:
Shane Denson and Ruth Mayer, "Plurimediality and the Serial Figure”
Wednesday, December 14:
Jason Mittell, “Serial Characterization and Inferred Interiority”
Thursday, December 15:
Andreas Jahn-Sudmann, “TV Series, Metaseriality and the Very Special Episode”
On December 10, 2011, Jason Mittell, Fellow of the Popular Seriality Research Unit, will be giving an opening lecture at the annual Austria’s Young Americanists Workshop on “American Studies and/as/vs Media Studies." He will be talking about “Media Studies and American Studies as Interdisciplines.” The workshop will take place at the University of Inssbruck (Austria) from December 9 to 11, 2011.
Further information about the workshop.
The Working Group “Children’s Literature,” the Working Group “Historical Children´s Research” and the Göttingen State and University Library are holding a large exhibition of children’s books in order to present the historical Seifert Collection. The exhibition is at the Pauliner Church during the winter term 2011/2012.
Parallel to the exhibition in the winter term 2011/2012 there will be a public lecture series dealing with international classics of children’s literature (on Thursdays, 6:15-7:45 p.m., in the Pauliner Chruch). Members of the Popular Seriality Research Unit will present canonical (and serial) children’s books: On December 8, 2011, Regina Bendix will talk about seriality in James Krüss’ Timm Thaler. Frank Kelleter (15 December 2011) and Gerhard Lauer (9 February 2012) will present Frank L. Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz und J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter, respectively.
Jason Mittell, Fellow of the Popular Seriality Research Unit, will be giving a keynote address entitled “Getting Lost in Transmedia: The Perils and Possibilities of Mapping an Island Across Media” at the conference “Lost in Media.” The conference will take place at the Bauhaus-University Weimar on November 25 and 26, 2011. The focus will be on the television series Lost as a form of reflection and projection of media change.
Andreas Jahn-Sudmann will also be giving a talk at this conference. He will be speaking on “Watching Lost and Exploring Outbidding (Überbietung) as a Serial Form.”
For further information and the conference program click here.
On November 22, 2011, Michaela Wünsch will be giving a guest lecture on repetition and seriality in television and psychoanalysis. The event is part of the American Studies Research Colloquium "The State of Cultural Theory (Canon and Evaluation / Popular Seriality)" and will take place from 4.15 to 5.45 p.m. in the “Medienraum” of the English Department in Göttingen. The guest lecture will be held in German. Michaela Wünsch is Fellow of the Berlin Institute for Cultural Inquiry (ICI), where she is working on her project “Death Drive, Repetition Automatism and Seriality in the Intersections between Psychoanalysis, Cybernetics and Popular Culture.“
On November 10, 2011, Jason Mittell, Fellow of the Popular Seriality Research Unit, will give a keynote lecture on "Serial Orientations: Mapping the Narrative Worlds of Contemporary Complex Television" at the conference “(Dis)Orienting Media and Narrative Mazes.” The conference will take place at the Ruhr-University Bochum from November 10th to November 11th 2011. The focus will be on media as technologies and sites of orientation and disorientation as well as media narratives employing this (dis)orientation as theme and structure. For further information and the conference program click here.
On November 8, from 4 to 6pm, the American cartoonist Keith Knight will offer a power point presentation about his serial autobiographical comic strip "The K Chronicles," the syndicated comic strip "The Knight Life," and the political cartoon "(Th)ink." The event will take place at the "große Seminarraum" at the Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek (SUB) Göttingen. It is open to the public. More information on Knight's work is available at http://www.kchronicles.com/.
From November 2-5, 2011, the John-F.-Kennedy Institute in Berlin will hold an international conference on the current state of North American Studies. The “American Studies Today” conference will focus on the analysis of recent developments in the field and discuss new directions of research. Frank Kelleter will be a respondent in the “Media” section of the conference, where prospective Fellow of the Popular Seriality Research Unit, William Uricchio (MIT, Boston), will be giving a paper. Ruth Mayer and Mita Banerjee (Mainz) will be presenting a paper in the “Postcolonialism/Transculturalism” section; their respondent will be Ulla Haselstein (Berlin).
Preliminary Conference Program.
Christine Hämmerling will present her dissertation project on the German police procedural Tatort at the Cultural Anthropology/European Ethnology research colloquium, at the University of Göttingen on November 2, 2011, and at the colloquium of the Ludwig-Uhland Institute for Empirical Cultural Studies, University of Tübingen, on November 3, 2011. Her dissertation is part of the sub-project “Quotidian Integration and Social Positioning of Pulp Novels (Heftromane) and Television Series.”
Together with the Fellow of the Popular Seriality Research Unit during the academic year 2011/2012, Jason Mittell, we have planned a series of three workshops. Two of the workshops are directed at B.A./M.A. students and doctoral students. In another workshop, Jason Mittell will present his current book project. The dates and topics of the workshops are as follows:
In the first workshop, Jason Mittell will provide a an introduction to media studies in the U.S. and discuss his research with B.A./M.A. students and doctoral students. The workshop will be hosted by Daniel Stein. It takes place on November 29, 2011, from 3 to 6 p.m. at the modern library building of the SUB in Göttingen (Großer Seminarraum).
In the second workshop, Jason Mittell will present and discuss his current book project. This workshop will be part of the American Studies Research Colloquium "The State of Cultural Theory (Canon and Evaluation / Popular Seriality)," and will be hosted by Shane Denson. The workshop takes place on January 17, 2012, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the modern library building of the SUB in Göttingen (Großer Seminarraum).
The third workshop is directed at students who are writing their theses (B.A., M.A., doctoral) about a seriality-related project. Participants will discuss their approaches, methodology, concepts and problems with Jason Mittell. The workshop takes place on February 9, 2012, time and place TBA.
Jason Mittell, Fellow of the Popular Seriality Research Unit, will give a talk called "Playing for Plot in the Lost and Portal Franchises" at the FROG Vienna Games Conference (October 21- 23, 2011). The Vienna Games Conference 2011 will address issues related to the "Future and Reality of Gaming" (FROG) sharing research and insights on the future of the games industry, game design, game theory, game culture and education. For more information and the conference program, click here.
On October 18, 2011, at 4 p.m., Daniel Stein will give a guest lecture about "Another Kind of Modernism: George Herriman's Krazy Kat and Early American Newspaper Comics." The guest lecture will be part of Prof. Dr. Gabriele Rippl's "American Modernisms" lecture series.
Shane Denson and Daniel Stein of the Popular Seriality Research Unit will participate in the workshop "Interdisciplinary Methodology: The Case of Comics Studies" in Bern. The workshop will take place on October 14 and 15, 2011. Shane Denson will talk about "Multistable Frames: Notes Towards a (Post-)Phenomenological Approach to Comics," and Daniel Stein presents a paper on "Authorship in Comics: Historical and Theoretical Observations."
For more information about the workshop, click here.
On Oktober 11, 2011, Jason Mittell, Fellow of the Popular Seriality Research Unit, will be giving a lecture at the IT University in Copenhagen (Denmark). He will be talking about “Televisual Rhetoric and Mapping Fictional Spaces.”
From October 7 to 9, 2011, a conference on the German police procedural Tatort will take place in Bad Herrenalb. The conference is organized by the Protestant Academy Baden (in Bad Herrenalb) and the KIT (Karlsruhe Institute for Technology); it will be held in German. The members of the sub-project "Forms and Practices of Seriality in the ARD Police Procedural Tatort"—Stefan Scherer, Claudia Stockinger, Christian Hißnauer, and Björn Lorenz—have participated in the organization and will each give a talk at the conference.
For the conference program and registration information click here.
Mirjam Nast will give a talk about Perry Rhodan and popular seriality at the Conference of the German Association for Cultural Anthropology. The conference will take place from September 21-24, 2011, at the Ludwig-Uhland Institute for Empirical Cultural Studies at the University of Tübingen. Mirjam Nast is research associate in the sub-project "Quotidian Integration and Social Positioning of Pulp Novels (Heftromane) and Television Series."
For further information click here.
During his research trip to the United States, Daniel Stein visited the Comic Art Collection at Michigan State University, and the Special Collections Library at Duke University (Edwin and Terry Murray Fanzine Collection). A short article about his stay at Michigan State University has now been published on the ComFor (Gesellschaft für Comicforschung) homepage.
Daniel Stein is a post-doc research associate of the subproject "Authorization Practices of Serial Narration."
On August 1, 2011, Jason Mittell will arrive in Göttingen to begin his stay as a Fellow of the Popular Seriality Research Unit at the Lichtenberg-Kolleg. Jason Mittell is Associate Professor of American Studies and Film & Media Culture at Middlebury College, VT (USA). During his stay at the University of Göttingen, from August 2011 to June 2012, he will be writing a book on television narrative and collaborating with the popular seriality team. For further information click here.
On Monday, June 27, 2011, the German television station NDR will broadcast a feature on the Popular Seriality Research Unit ("Hallo Niedersachsen," 7.30 p.m.). Jan Starkebaum has interviewed Claudia Stockinger and Christian Hißnauer on the work of the PSRU and on their sub-project "Forms and Practices of Seriality in the ARD Police Procedural Tatort." This feature is the first one in a series of reports about the academic life and research at the University of Göttingen.
Members of the Popular Seriality Research Unit will participate in a workshop on "The Transcultural Work of Comics and Graphic Narratives" at the Annual Conference of the German Association for American Studies (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Amerikastudien/DGfA) in Regensburg. The workshop (June 18, 2:00-5:30pm) is co-organized and co-chaired by Daniel Stein; Shane Denson will talk about "Frame, Sequence, Medium: Comics in Plurimedial and Transnational Perspective".
For more information about the workshop and the conference, click here.
The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, one of Germany’s leading daily newspapers, has published an article about the PSRU’s work on seriality (April 13, 2011). The article, written by Katharina Teutsch, is now available for download in the press section of this website.
On May 18, 2011, at 6 p.m., Shane Denson will give a lecture on "Mediatization & Serialization." The lecture is open to the public and will take place at Königsworther Platz 1 (“Conti-Hochhaus,” room 615) in Hanover. Shane Denson is a member of the Popular Seriality Research Unit (PSRU) and a research associate in the sub-project "Serial Figures and Media Change."
For further information on this lecture, click here.
In April, a number of radio features on seriality and interviews with members of the Popular Seriality Research Unit have been broadcasted by German radio stations. Two longer features and some shorter interviews address matters such as the Opening Conference, the work of the PSRU, and the popularity, production, and reception of commercial TV series. For a detailed list of the radio features and audio files click here.
On May 17, 2011, at 6 p.m., Jared Gardner from Ohio State University will give a guest lecture on “The Birth of the Open-ended Serial and the Future of Storytelling.” The lecture is open to the public and will take place at the modern library building of the SUB in Göttingen (Großer Seminarraum).
The Opening Conference of the Popular Seriality Research Unit (PSRU) took place at the Paulinerkirche in Göttingen from April 6 to 8, 2011. Here are photos that our student assistant Madita Oeming has taken during the three conference days.
On Thursday, April 7, 2011, the German radio station SWR2 will broadcast a radio feature by Thomas Ihm. Radio host Thomas Ihm has interviewed Frank Kelleter on the work of the PSRU, and on the production and reception of commercial TV series. The feature is available as an MP3-file. Further information can be found on the radio station’s homepage.
The Opening Conference of the Popular Seriality Research Unit (PSRU) will take place at the Paulinerkirche in Göttingen from April 6 to 8, 2011. At the conference, members of the PSRU and associated members will present their projects and discuss them with leading researchers from other universities. Confirmed keynote speakers are Lorenz Engell (IKKM of the Bauhaus University Weimar) and Knut Hickethier (University of Hamburg). Other speakers include: Thomas Klein (Mainz), Brigitte Frizzoni (Zurich), Oliver Fahle (Bochum), Ursula Ganz-Blättler (Lugano / Hildesheim), and Hans-Otto Hügel (Hildesheim).
The conference is open to the public; if you plan to attend, please contact Kathleen Loock (Kathleen.Loock(at)phil.uni-goettingen.de). This conference will be held in German; a larger, international conference (in English) is planned for 2013.
Frank Kelleter's article “Serienhelden sehen dich an” has been published in the recent issue of the journal Psychologie Heute (4/2011). It surveys a field of questions which are central to the Popular Seriality Research Unit.
In recent months, a number of articles and books have been published by members of the Popular Seriality Research Unit. Frank Kelleter has written an essay on The Sopranos and canonization, entitled "Populärkultur und Kanonisierung: Wie(so) erinnern wir uns an Tony Soprano?" It appears in the volume Wertung und Kanon, edited by Claudia Stockinger and Matthias Freise. Frank Kelleter and Kaspar Maase have contributed the articles "Kultur" and "Populärliteratur," respectively, to Lexikon Literaturwissenschaft: Hundert Grundbegriffe (edited by Gerhard Lauer and Christine Ruhrberg).
Furthermore, Gerhard Lauer, Fotis Jannidis, and Simone Winko have co-edited a special issue of the Journal of Literary Theory on Popular Culture.
Daniel Stein’s article "The Long Shadow of Wilhelm Busch: 'Max & Moritz' and German Comics" has been published in the International Journal of Comic Art. It examines the evolution of comics as a popular narrative form in Germany and the U.S.
Christian Hißnauers’s work on documentary television has now been published by UVK Verlag Konstanz, Germany. Fernsehdokumentarismus: Theoretische Näherungen – Pragmatische Abgrenzungen – Begriffliche Klärungen investigates theoretical aspects related to the production of documentary television and the differences between documentary television and television journalism. Hißnauer also focuses on genre theory and closely examines the historical genesis of the most important (semi)documentary forms such as documentary film, feature, news coverage, docudrama, mockumentary, docufiction, reality TV, real life soap, and scripted documentary. The book also addresses the concept of seriality, especially in the chapters on television genres and reality TV.
On March 22 at 4.30 p.m. Frank Kelleter will give a lecture on seriality at the Department of Film and Media Studies of Middlebury College (USA). He will be talking about "Remakes and Popular Seriality."
Frank Kelleter and Andreas Jahn-Sudmann will present their project "The Dynamics of Serial Outbidding (Überbietung)" at the Society for Cinema & Media Studies Conference, March 10-13, 2011, in New Orleans. Their panel is scheduled for March 12, 2011, and entitled “Institutional Practices and Ideals: Television Economics and Policy.”
For further information click here.
On Thursday, January 13, 2011, an interview with Frank Kelleter, Regina Bendix and Christine Hämmerling was broadcasted on the German radio station Deutschlandfunk. Ulrike Burgwinkel has interviewed the members of the Popular Seriality Research Unit (PSRU) on the production and reception of commercial TV series and on the German police procedural Tatort. For further information on the radio station’s homepage click here. For the audio file of the interview click here.
On December 16 at 4 p.m. Ruth Mayer will present her current work on “Image Power: Seriality, Iconicity, and The Mask of Fu Manchu” at the Center of Modern Humanities in Göttingen (ZTMK). The lecture is part of the Humanities Laboratories organized by the ZTMK and will take place at the Institute for Cultural Anthropology / European Ethnology. The event will be chaired by Frank Kelleter; Axel Schneider, expert in East Asian Studies, and Thomas Kempa from the department of Intercultural German Studies will serve as commentators. For further information click here.
The Swiss radio station SR DRS has interviewed Christian Hißnauer on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the ARD police procedural Tatort__. The interview was broadcasted on November 27, 2010. Christian Hißnauer is a research associate of the Popular Seriality Research Unit (PSRU) and works with Claudia Stockinger and Stefan Scherer on the sub-project "Forms and Practices of Seriality in the ARD Police Procedural Tatort." In the radio interview, Christian Hißnauer was asked to explain the long-lasting success of the most popular series in the German-speaking countries. His answers can also be found in an article on the radio station’s homepage.
Several members of the Poupular Seriality Research Unit will present their projects at this year’s American Studies Association Annual Meeting, “Crisis, Chains, and Change: American Studies for the 21st Century,” November 18-21, 2010, San Antonio, Texas (USA). The panel is entitled “The Cultural Work of Popular Seriality: Aesthetics and Practices” and will be chaired by Frank Kelleter, who will also serve as commentator. Shane Denson will speak about “Media Crisis, Serial Chains, and the Mediation of Change: Frankenstein on Film”; Daniel Stein will speak about “Practicing Authorship and Authorizing Practices in Serial Superhero Comics.”
For further information click here.
This November, Frank Kelleter will be giving two lectures on seriality at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences (IAS) of Nanjing University in China. On November 1, he will be talking about "Popular Seriality I: The Sopranos and the Art of Serial Narration," and on November 5, he speaks on "Popular Seriality II: The Wizard of Oz: Remakes, Adaptations, Serializations."
Daniel Stein has recently been awarded two distinguished dissertation prizes. On November 4, 2010, he received the Christian-Gottlob-Heyne-Preis for the best dissertation of the year in the Göttingen humanities. The prize was awarded during the annual ceremony of the GSGG at the Aula Wilhelmsplatz. Click here to read the official press release.
On October 21, 2010, Stein also received the Rolf-Kentner-Dissertationspreis for excellent contributions to the field of American Studies. He accepted the award during a ceremony at the Heidelberg Center for American Studies, during which he also gave a lecture on "'My Life Has Always been an Open Book': Louis Armstrong, American Autobiographer."
His award-winning dissertation is forthcoming as Music Is My Life: Louis Armstrong, Autobiography, and American Jazz (Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P).
On October 19 at 11 a.m. Jason Mittell will give a lecture on “Media Studies as an Interdiscipline.” The lecture is part of the Lichtenberg-Kolleg colloquium and will take place at the Historische Sternwarte in Göttingen. Jason Mittell is Associate Professor of American Studies and Film & Media Culture at Middlebury College, VT (USA), and will be a Fellow of the Popular Seriality Research Unit at the Lichtenberg-Kolleg in 2011/12.